I was asked in another thread to post pictures of the construction process for the Bushkill Bee Vac. I finally got around to making another one this weekend. Here's how I do it.
I used an 11-ply plywood that I had left over from a job, 3/4" thick (actual 11/16"). I think a good plywood, or a good tight grain solid wood like poplar would be best. Pine would work, but I don't think it would hold up as well in the long run.
I ripped enough 3" wide pieces to make the outer box of both the top and bottom unit.
Cut all pieces to size.
A) 3" x 20"
B) 3" x 15-5/8"
C) 15-1/4" x 19" x 1/4" plywood
D) 3" x 4-1/2" x 1/4" plywood
I wanted to make sure any hive body I grabbed would fit, so I decided to make the top and bottom units an 1/8" bigger than standard hive dimensions since I incorporate the use of metal corner angles to keep all the pieces locked together when stacked.
Rabbet the ends on parts A. Plywood thickness (11/16") x half the thickness (5/16").
Distance from the fence to the opposite side (outside) of the blade should equal the thickness of the plywood.
Cut this shoulder so the overall dimension when part B is between the two sides will equal 16-3/8".
Now you need to cut a dado in the sides to accept the 1/4" bottom panel.
I measured down 1/4" from the top and up 1/4" from the bottom edge to start the dado. Since I can't use a dado blade on this portable table saw, I made multiple cuts to get the desired width (1/4"). In order to safely make this cut on a table saw, I had to make a jig. I took a scrap piece of 3/4" plywood, a little longer than the 20" side pieces, and cut this same angle on it.
You'll have to cut this by hand, unless you have an angle jig for a table saw.
I cut some 1/4" plywood pieces, 3/4" wide and long enough to attach to the ends and extend a bit beyond to hold the side pieces for cutting.
Place the side pieces (A) into the jig like this. Align the fence with the blade so the first cut starts 1/4" down from the top or bottom, depending on which side you're cutting. Keep making consecutive cuts until you have the dado 1/4" wide. Simply flip the jig over to cut the other side piece.
This is what you should end up with. The depth of the dado is only 1/8".
The bottom board should fit into the side dados and extend about an 1/8" into where the end boards (B) will be.
Cut the dado into the end boards (B). Since the bottom board (C) is entering the dado (B) on an angle, simply make the width of these two dados a bit wider, 5/16" x 1/8" deep.
Glue, nail and screw all pieces together making sure it's square.
I had some scrap 3/4 x 3/4 aluminum angle that I cut into 3-3/4" lengths and attached to all the corners.
I used a 2-1/8" hole saw to cut the hole in the center of board (B). This is where the hose you use to suck up bees will slide into. The diameter of my hose end fitting is 2-1/4". Since I didn't have a 2-1/4" hole saw, I just used the 2-1/8" one to over cut the hole a bit until the hose fit snug. A little sanding with a Dremel as well.
Attach the cover (D) to the front. Drill a small hole slightly bigger than the screw diameter centered 1/2" in from the edge. Install with a 3/4" screw and washer just snug enough so it can still open and close. Drill another hole opposite so a second screw can be used to secure it closed when needed.
I used 1/4" eye bolts and centered them on the side boards (A), 3/4" up from the bottom edge. Use a large flat washer for 1/2" dia. bolts on the outside, and a 5/16" washer on the inside.
A) 3" x 20" (2)
B) 3" x 15-5/8" (2)
C) 15-1/2" x 20-7/8" x 3/4" removable plywood lid
D) 4-1/8" x 4-1/8" x 1/4" plywood suction adjuster
The top unit will require the same 4 pieces (A and B) used in the bottom unit. Follow the same steps outlined in post #1.
Now measure down 1/2" on the two side pieces (A) and cut a dado wide enough to accept the removable lid. I made the lid out of the same 11/16" plywood, so the dado width is 3/4" giving it a smidgen of wiggle room for ease of sliding in and out. The depth of the dado is the same as the rabbets on the end.
Use a scrap piece of wood to check that it moves in the dado with ease.
You will cut this dado for the lid into the two sides (A) and one of the end pieces (B).
Again, I made multiple passes on the table saw to get the desired width of the dado since I can't install a dado blade on it.
The remaining end board (B) can now be ripped down so it fits to the bottom of the dado. Glue, nail and screw the 4 frame pieces together, making sure it's square.
The top unit should now look like this. The removable lid should slide into the dado with relative ease.
Whatever the inside width of your top unit is, cut a 3" wide board this length (mine is 14-15/16") and install it centered along the side pieces, just a smidgen below the bottom of the dado. You don't want the removable lid to hit this piece at all.
Now you want to attach cleats (3/4" x 1/2") around the inside, just a smidgen below the dado. Again, you want to make sure these don't come in contact at all with the removable lid. Glue and staple the cleats.
Once the cleats are in place, cut a piece of #8 hardware cloth (8 squares to the inch) to fit the opening. Staple it to the cleats as well as the center cross board.
Now install a second band of cleats to sandwich the wire between.
Install metal angle pieces on all the corners. The top is now complete.
Slide the lid into the dado. Mark the front edge of the top unit on the lid. Cut a 45° angle from that mark on both sides.
Drill a 1" hole in the center of the lid that hangs past the front edge of the top unit. Drill a 2-1/4" hole, 5-1/4" centered back from the front edge, centered side to side. This is for regulating the amount of suction. Attach the 4-1/8" x 4-1/8" piece of plywood with another 3/4" screw and washer.
Drill another hole 3-3/4" centered from the back edge. This hole will be the same size as the hole in the bottom unit that will accept the end of your hose that attaches to your vac. Mine is 2-1/4"
Completed unit with deep hive body strapped between.
Yeah, I'm short one metal corner piece. Will have to buy another piece to complete.
Mine does not have eyebolts as I use the strap as a handle at times. Amazon has a strap that does not have the hook - part number B0018APUJC. I think harbor freight carries strap like this also. When you cut your strap to size, make it big enough to fit two boxes for the day you find the big one. And use flame to sear cut ends of the strap. You may also want to make one or two screen inner covers. Extremely handy. I also have a flat ply bottom of the box that I use as the box for cutout comb or as a solid lid. When the job is done I combine the two gracefully ;-).
You want a quart baggie full of of rubber bands that are large enough to fit around your frames. The rubber bands also help with jean pants legs if the bees power up.
My shop vacuum has a the power head tht comes out to be used as a blower. I set this on the hole cut in my box lid. And my top is a bit taller to fit the vacuum head rather than a port. It's also a bit more manageable in the weird spots bees make nests. And I replaced the vac electrical cord with a 25' cord. I also purchased amazon's B00LPOSICW - 20 ft 2-1/2" hose and insert B00KB826IU.
The amount of suction is critical. If the bees hold on you should -not- be able to suck them up with the 2-1/4" end. Any more suction makes it likely to bash the little biters. Smaller hose and you can't get the big one's. My gate is more a sliding gate. Long and narrow it provides for good fine vac control. The design of the diverter is important. Also, the hose end will get sticky with honey. I usually have one bucket for warm soapy water and a few hand towels. Remember to leave the top insert out when you take them home. On a hot day, the bees will bees will die unless kept cool. Run the AC on high with the screen on top with you in the car.
Very nice build, and great tutorial as well. Thank you for sharing!! Wish I had seen this 2 weeks ago. lol.
I just recently built a bee vac and ended up drilling the hole for my vacuum hose before I got the hose. The directions said there was a standard size, so I used that. Turns out, the hole I drilled is a tad larger than the hose adapter. I just wrapped a few layers of duct tape on the hose adapter to make it seal tightly. Should that be sufficient?